Furnished or Unfurnished? Curly Coat or Straight Coat?
While furnishings are different than if your pup is considered an F1, F1b, F2, F2b which is specific to the generation, but it definitely ties back to the coat type your puppy will have. In many cases this may be confused when you are determining coat type by the generation of the puppy – keep in mind that the generation is a completely different designation than Furnished or unfurnished (coat type). Please keep in mind that the Poodle is the most heterozygous breed of canine and there are many variants to their genetic makeup due to many generations of breeding for specific traits – one of which is coat type.
Furnishings are responsible for the bearded fluffiness or “curlieness” that makes a doodle look like a doodle. It is a dominant gene (also called an allele) that is passed down from the Poodle and makes a doodle fluffy. But, if you remember your biology lessons, we all inherit one allele from our mother and one from our father. The furnishings gene simply masks the expression of the recessive unfurnished gene that a lot of doodles still carry in their genome. There are three identified furnishings alleles: Strong Furnishings (F), Weak Furnishings (Fw) and unfurnished (f, also known as IC) – dominant in that order.
Poodles are a furnished breed. All Poodle genotypes (are supposed to) look like this: FF. They receive one F from their mother and one F from their father. Simple enough. Now we add to that… Not all Poodles are FF. In the dog world there are many different “lines” within each breed. In Poodles there are “show lines”, “working lines” and “pet lines”. Without dragging dog-politics into this let’s just say that we can and do see Fw and f alleles in Poodles, and more often we see a heterozygous genome in the pet lines. Therefore, it is important, when using a Poodle to make doodles, that the Poodle is genetically tested. Never assume just because it is a Poodle that it is homozygous FF.
Saint Bernards and New Foundlands are unfurnished. They are homozygous recessive ff. All First-generation Saint Berdoodles will be handed down one f allele from their Saint or New Foundland parent.
Now, when a breeder chooses to breed an F1 dog (Ff) they need to make a decision. If they breed an Ff dog to another Ff dog, statistically speaking, they are going to end up with 25% of the puppies being ff. This means the puppies are not furnished and they do not have the fluffy doodle look that their siblings will display. These puppies are commonly referred to being Unfurnished or IC Affected. Each parent carried a copy of the Improper Coat (IC) gene (IC is interchangeable with f for unfurnished. Lingo just depends on who you are talking to. Breeders have a tendency to use the terms associated with IC – IC, Improper Coat, IC affected).
Furnished does not mean they won’t shed. Shedding is on several different genes and the curly hair gene is part of that whole picture. A smooth coat Saint doesn’t have a curl gene, but a rough coat does. That is why smooth coated Saints aren’t typically used for Doodles.